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Moss laden boulders - Balindore, Lorn, Scotland.
Finding Bryophytes


Starting out is simple and easy.

Take a walk around where you live and look for dark green, yellow-green or colour where you have not really noticed it before.

We often move around towns and in the countryside without really noticing mosses. They are predominantly green in colour when wet or often dark brown when very dry. Both colours means they fade into the landscape. When sporangia are present, they then become more obvious with unusual capsules attracting our eyes.

Bryophytes are very 'observer friendly' in that they don't have seasons and are there all year round. They grow in a wide range of environments , often in your garden or very near your doorstep.

The colony in the image below are still growing and thriving on the little-used tarmac pavement outside our house. In the summer they fade away to dark brown, then become the brilliant green carpet you see below.

In a town or city, almost anywhere in the countryside, on a brownfield site, by the sea, where there are trees- branches, trunks, pavements, block paving, old window frames, fences, fence posts, stone walls, church yards, streams and river banks, back gardens, beaches, boulders, banks, the list goes on.   Basically, anywhere that gets wet can be a habitat for Bryophytes and there are a multitude of different environments where you can look for and find them.

As you look at more different species you may need to visit specific environments to find species that are known to like certain types of habitat. Habitat can prove to be very valuable information both for identifying and for find different species. Looking where there are shady areas behind walls, large stones and on the shaded parts of trees can often prove useful.


I am still often pleasantly surprised when I find mosses and liverworts in places where I would least expect to find them. They are remarkably resilient, recovering after prolonged periods of hot weather and drought, and growing anywhere they can find the right conditions. All of the specimens below were found in the centre of Hanley in Staffordshire on trees, brick wall tops, old brownfield tarmac and decorative brick walls.

To see more about them please visit this link - Urban Bryophytes in Hanley







Didymodon nicholsonii - Barbula nicholsonii - Derbyshire
 Bryum capillare (Capiilary Thread-moss)
Syntrichia ruralis subsp. ruralis Tortula ruralis Great Hairy Screw-moss
Grimmia pulvinata - Grey-cushioned Grimmia
Marchantia polymorpha subsp. /ruderalis Mountain  - Star-headed - or Common Liverwort.
Grimmia pulvinata - Grey-cushioned Grimmia
Bryum argenteum (Silver-moss) with capsules
Top of brick wall in a city centre
Old tarmac on brownfield site
Old concrete on brownfield site
Trunk of a Cherry tree - city centre
External floor bricks - city centre
Mortar gap in brick wall top - city centre
Tortula muralis -  Wall Screw-moss - Gravestone,Derbyshire
Aulacomnium androgynum - Drumsticks, Sandstone wall, Derbyshire
Tree trunk - Ulota phyllantha - Frizzled Pincushion moss - Kilchoman, Isle of Islay.
Three species on a sandstone rockery boulder - Town Centre - Staffordshire
Crevice in a stone wall - Derbyshire
Sandstone rockery boulder - Staffordshire
Flat Gravestone Churchyard - Derbyshire
Tree trunk - Kilcoman - Isle of Islay
Water earwort - Scapania undulata - Sguiler Burn, Sliddery Moor, Isle of Arran
Scapania undulata - Allt nan Calaman, Gleannan t-suidhe, String Road, Isle of Arran.
Fast flowing burn - Isle of Arran
Fast flowing burn - Isle of Arran

Finding Bryophytes is probably going to be the easiest part of your foray into the species.

If you discover Bryophytes in any really unusual places, please let me know.

There is plenty of scope to expand this section!

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